R6: "Bleeping Good Time"

by Kyzrati on 20120517 , under

This isn't the big release I intended it to be, but I figured it'd be nice to get a playable demo back out there so anyone new to the game can try their hand at perforating some aliens.

There's no new scenario this time around, or any new gameplay at all--R6 is mostly a batch of UI changes.

As described in the previous post, the engine was refactored to support multiple fonts simultaneously, which will play a big part in future UI design. Using multiple fonts of different sizes isn't very true to the console tradition, but square fonts aren't very readable, and readable non-square fonts aren't all that great for a tactical map since they distort space, so X@COM should benefit greatly from mixing the two--square fonts for maps, and narrow fonts for text. (The R6 HUD still uses the wide text font, but will eventually be narrowed once it's redesigned.)

The temporary message feedback system was replaced by a more proper version which can be easily expanded and modified through the data files.

A new Combat Log window is now available, where you can read all about your squad's glorious exploits. The log is still in its infancy, but already includes more than 80 different message types. On completing a mission, your score and log are output to an html file (it'll show you the file name and path). I originally had it writing to a text file, but decided it'd be nicer to retain the log message colors, hence the html.

If you played Cogmind, you'll recognize the text animation effects and sounds, which were from this previously unreleased version of X@COM to begin with (I've been sitting on most of it for a while now). If the message sounds annoy you, you can mute the game with F6. (Don't forget to check F1 help for new commands.) It won't be so annoying later when it's accompanied by a wider variety of console bleeps and bloops as you give commands and watch the battle.

Although it doesn't affect current gameplay, R6 comes with the refactored anatomy system. Future modders will be happy to know that they can create new body parts, then combine those parts into completely new beings where the body part parameters do actually have a number of gameplay implications. This system was already described in an earlier post.

There's also a set of new larger fonts available which can be activated for a 1280x960 window, along with somewhat improved fullscreen support. The larger fonts were a quick job--I just blew up and the normal fonts and tidied them up enough to prevent graphical artifacts, so they don't look nearly as good as the official fonts will when I get around to dedicating more time to them. Here's a shot of one of the font sets available at the higher resolution (click for full size):

The next release will bring some new gameplay and yet more UI windows.
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